Spirituality

The Fathers of St. Joseph is not merely a gathering of fathers who attempt to be spiritual, but rather of fathers who profess and strive to live St. Joseph’s own spirituality. This spirituality is founded upon the understanding and fulfillment of man’s theological location and vocation. The human father has a distinct, divinely ordained position within the cosmos, and it from this position that man’s mission, his vocation–which consists of the four pillars: embracing silence, embracing woman, embracing the child and embracing charitable authority–is fulfilled. *

Joseph’s entire vocation was dependent upon his relationship with God. The very fulfillment of his fatherhood depended upon his relationship with the Father. So too does the victory of our fatherly vocation depend upon embracing silence. Without this pillar, our works, regardless of how effective they may appear, will achieve very little from the divine perspective, and perhaps even hinder the redemption of those around us. Indeed, though many men believe that they know the will of God, the truth is that without the divine compass—that heavenly guidance which casts its clear light into the darkness of silence—we quickly become lost: blind leaders who lead blind followers into error. When man enters into silence, by embracing its three forms: silence within self; silence before men; and silence before God, God reveals Himself to man and man to himself.

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The New Testament begins with the virginal marriage, between Mary and St. Joseph, whose fruit is the Word made flesh. Indeed, the Word’s first public miracle, which inaugurated his public ministry, occurred at a wedding as a certain sign of His redemption and restoration of marriage as an efficacious, that is, grace transmitting sacrament of the divine marriage of Christ and His Church.

Considering that God desires to heal human marriage and the relationship between man and woman, we must conclude that as men, it is our duty to participate in this plan by becoming fathers who, like St. Joseph, image God the Father, and also to become husbands who image the eternal Husband, by embracing woman in her three forms: in the feminine genius and person of all women; in one’s wife to whom one remains yoked; and in Mary, “blessed among women.”

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The human father is the face of the Father that our children cannot see; the voice of the Father that our children cannot hear; he is the touch of the Father that our children cannot feel. Just as St. Joseph spiritually adopted Jesus, it is imperative that we spiritually adopt our children by becoming the face, voice and touch of the Father. We embrace our children, first, by identifying them as temples of the Holy Spirit; second, by giving our children the materials that will assist them in the project of building themselves into temples of the Holy Spirit; and third, by blessing our children and charging them to fulfill the mission to become living temples of God.

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From the beginning of creation, the human father has been endowed with the distinct character of authority and the role of leader, regardless of whether he the least qualified member of his family and regardless of what our broken world and its fallen prince would have him believe. Consider that St. Joseph was the “least perfect” member of the Holy Family, and yet the Church in her litany of praise to this exemplar father hails him as “Head of the Holy Family.” Indeed, God does not call the qualified, but rather qualifies the called. The human father, in his essence, has nothing of which to be ashamed. To be ashamed of his God-given authority, the human father would have be ashamed of the God Who imparted that authority to him.

The human father assumes his charitable authority by protecting, providing for and teaching his family. By protecting, providing and teaching, the human father is loving by leading and leading by loving. If the human father chooses not to protect, provide for and teach his family, he is actually choosing not to love his family, and not to lead his family to Love. By protecting, providing for and teaching, the human father authors the story of God’s fatherly love in his family’s life.

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* For a consise, yet detailed explanation of The Fathers of St. Joseph spirituality see The Fathers of St. Joseph Manual: Spirituality and Vision